Over two years ago, my girlfriend came to me with a crazy dream she had. In it, I was Jay Z. I was still “me,” but I looked like Jay Z and had the platinum-selling rap mogul status of Jay Z. Meanwhile, my girlfriend had assumed the role of Beyoncé. She was still “herself,” but looked like Queen B and carried the empowering feminist aura that comes with being the most influential female artist alive. In her dream, we performed a concert in tandem and then rode off into the sunset on a motorcycle. That’s one hell of a dream.
“Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?”
This was shouted by Public Enemy in 1988 on the track “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic.” Flash forward to 2014, and it turns out that a lot of people still care about the Grammys. Yet, the event in our world of numerous social media streams has become fodder for snark and reaction in 140 characters or less. The Grammys is the Sharknado of awards shows for some, but for others, it’s an actual indicator of the direction of popular music.
I love the game of basketball for its subtle artistry and the supreme level of skill necessary to exceed at it, not unlike being a musician, a physician or an astronaut. In no other basketball league in the world is the competition greater, obviously, than in the National Basketball Association. These people are the absolute best of the best, and the webs they weave nightly, from Kyrie Irving’s magisterial through-the-legs assists to Ray Allen’s legendarily perfect follow-through on a jump shot, can drive a fan up the wall with wonder, reducing him or her to an adolescent curiosity in which questions become essentially rhetorical. With the NBA preseason right around the corner, the time has come for everyone with a voice to chime in with predictions and perspectives. We at TwH are no different.
We (I) will break down each division, listing the teams in the order in which I believe they will finish the regular season. There will be plenty of room for dispute, as there always is, and from the start I must concede that this is an imperfect art. There are far too many variables involved in an 82-game season to know everything, but we will do the best we can with what we know now. Sometimes it may only take a gut feeling to push one team over another. Prepare for anything. And so we begin, in the Atlantic Division.
With this week’s conflicting reports of quarterback Mark Sanchez either being out for the season or, at the very least, being out for the foreseeable future, many Jets fans, myself included, have come to the conclusion that the rollercoaster of Sanchez’s time on the Jets has, for all intents and purposes, come to an end. What began with relatively high hopes and two straight AFC Championship Game appearances will most likely end with many CBS cutaways to Sanchez on the sidelines in a hat trying to look supportive of his apparent successor, Geno Smith. Flashes of his unkempt hair and seven o’clock shadow during timeouts will constitute the majority of the attention he receives here forth, and the announcers will perceive his happiness as having an inverse correlation with Smith’s success as the season progresses. Sanchez has taken the Jets and their fans to higher highs and seemingly bottomless valleys over the course of the last five years, and now that he seems to be on his way out of the city which had once been so keen to christen him as the long-awaited successor to Joe Namath, it is time to reminisce. Hopefully (I guess? Being a Jets fan is confusing, and not just for the idea of actually being a Jets fan), Sanchez will not make a Willis Reed-like return in the fading weeks of the season to bring the Jets to the brink of the playoffs and then go 5-21 with 4 interceptions and a lost fumble in Week 17. That would render this piece premature and really take some of the fun out of it. And yet, that would be a perfectly Mark Sanchez-with-the-Jets thing to do. In fact, it would simply be a perfect Jets thing to do, as this franchise loves to string its fans along with enough promise to keep the team interesting. Then, just when we think the team is ready to finally strangle the monkey on our back, the team realizes it is still the New York Jets, and we return to mediocrity under the most judgmental media magnifying glass in this country. With all that said, what follows is a look back at Sanchez’s span in New York, as told through the universal language that is pop music. Read More
Have you heard? Kendrick Lamar is the King of New York. Yeah, he crowned himself on a track with Big Sean and Jay Electronica. Did I mention that he dissed them but not really dissed them on the same track? Yes, it’s true! You should aspire to be Kendrick because he’s one of the best. So go back to the studio, lames. Perfect your writing because K. Dot will not be stopped.
When I think about Jay-Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail, there’s one lyric that won’t stop bouncing around my brain. It’s eight years old: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” I mean, how else could Jay sell a million records before anyone even knew the album existed?
MCHG was announced in conjunction with a $5 million deal with Samsung that allowed one million of its smartphone users to download the album for free five days before its official release. It’s a testament to Jay-Z The Musician’s immense popularity that Jay-Z The Businessman (or Business, Man) could even make such a deal, but it’s also the epitome of “selling out.” And therein lies the problem with Jay-Z: I love him as a musician. I’m impressed by the way he has progressed from the gangster braggadocio of Reasonable Doubt to the King of the Rap Game braggadocio of Watch the Throne, and everything he’s done in between. I love how he proves you don’t need an MBA to be a brilliant business man. But can he continue play both roles?
A lot has changed for Jay-Z since 2011’s Watch the Throne, which serves as social commentary from the top wrapped in a luxury item inventory. His empire has grown tentacles, his influence growing almost on a daily basis. The Brooklyn Nets opened their home at the Barclays Center. Then, he sold his share of the team so he could represent athletes with Roc Nation. Even Magna Carta Holy Grail is a record that is more business than personal. The marketing scheme surrounding the album was based on an app which only Samsung Galaxy owners could download on Independence Day – all others had to wait until July 9th. This is Jay-Z cementing his brand while increasing his bottom line. But, all is not golden at the top of the world.